Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Becoming Sweden

I'm not a frequent viewer of The Daily Show, but I have to give a little credit where credit is due. By suggesting that if certain liberal policies are enacted we'll be in danger of "turning into Sweden", some conservative commentators floated a big softball over the plate. The Daily Show took a swing at that softball with the video below. This is pretty funny, so let it play first. I'll leave a few more comments below the video.

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The Stockholm Syndrome
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The conservative pundits warning about Sweden missed two obvious points. The first is that, as the video above shows, Sweden seems like a pretty nice place. Better to invoke the specter of a not-so-nice place when warning of the potential consequences of enacting liberal policies. The second point is that even if our tax burden and our government spending as a share of our economy were as high as Sweden's, that wouldn't make us like Sweden. Sweden is known for (among other things) honest, effective government. As Wolfgang M√ľnchau of the Financial Times has noted, Italians have a tax burden similar to that of the Swedes, but get far less effective government from it. Similarly, invidious comparisons between us and Sweden (e.g., the international education comparisons brought up by The Atlantic when they posted on this Daily Show video) are specious because of the homogeneity of Sweden's population. There is a non-trivial number of Americans of Swedish ancestry; I'd bet they'd do fine in any objective comparison with their cousins in Sweden, if anyone wants to compare apples to apples.

Instead of ominously warning that we're in danger of turning into a pleasant European country if certain liberal policies are enacted, conservatives would be smarter to point out that, regardless of what policies are enacted here, we'll still be Americans, and this will still be America. We need to keep our differences in mind when considering policies: e.g., as we suggested in a recent post, the sort of energy policy that works for a small country that juts out into the North Sea might not work for another country that spans a continent.

Another thought: the bit at the end of the video with the Swedish pop star was a cleverly chosen example of Swedish egalitarianism, but it's worth noting that Sweden has produced its share of extreme wealth as well. For example, the Swede Ingvar Kamprad, the founder of Ikea, is listed as the fifth-richest man on this year's Forbes list of billionaires (Kamprad moved to Switzerland though, presumably at least partly for tax purposes). One nice touch in that video was the inclusion of the ominous theme from Dune. You can hear more of that theme at about 40 seconds into the trailer below:

13 comments:

JK said...

Communism also seems to have worked much better for the Chinese -at least the Han Chinese- than the Russians. The Russian people seem to crave very strong leaders who take advantage of a centrally organized redistributive system, whereas the Chinese are genuinely more collectivist in nature.

Dyn Rand said...

Everyone is a liberal and a socialist until they first start earning the big bucks and realize it's them that's paying all the bills.

DaveinHackensack said...

J.K.,

I don't know if I agree with you about the alleged benefits of Communism for the Chinese. It was mostly a disaster until the first market-oriented (i.e., capitalist) reforms were initiated in the 1980s (e.g., the Cultural Revolution, the experiment in backyard steel smelting, etc.). I don't know if it's true that the Chinese are inherently collectivist either. Is this true of ethnic Chinese in Singapore or Hong Kong, or among the Chinese minorities in Malaysia, The Philippines, etc.?

Also, it's worth bearing in mind the extent to which Sweden's affluence is facilitated by its market economy. The Swedish government may spread the wealth liberally, but that wealth is created in a mostly capitalist economy.

Dyn Rand,

Is that the case with physicians and dentists who accept government subsidized loans and grants while they are getting their degrees, and then become scourges of government spending when they start making money?

JK said...

I'm speaking as more of a political system than an economic one. Perhaps Communism doesn't decribe the system over there accurately anymore, but that's what they go by. Most Chinese don't mind having only one party, and while the government is totalitarian, they've moved beyond sadistic one-man despots. The Russian nation in contrast is like a battered woman that keeps hooking up with abusive husbands, with terrible results. Nutrition deficiency is very high, and as many as 1/3 of Russian schoolchildren would be considered mentally retarded here in the US.

As far as Chinese in other countries, I have never traveled there so I can't say for sure, but Asian culture is more collectivist than Western culture in general. 'You' as an individual don't have much of a personal identity outside of the people you know (family mostly) and your country. It is like this in India also(cultural awareness training at my job), Korea, and China, and probably many other asian cultures. Perhaps Mr. Wahl wants to speak up on his experience with Vietnamese culture.
Anyway this is why although many Asians are highly intelligent, they are prone to groupthink and lag in creativity tests.

DaveinHackensack said...

OK, I see where you're going now, focusing on the politics rather than the economics. I'm not sure if Communism is the common denominator there either, but you do have a point in the sense that Chinese have done well under autocratic capitalist systems (Hong Kong and Singapore being two examples, mainland China another, to some extent, though it doesn't have the rule of law and other free market foundations of the two city-states. Also, Taiwan, although it is now a democracy, built the foundations of its prosperous economy during a period of autocracy).

It would be interesting to hear Daniel's take on this, with his experience in Vietnam. Perhaps he will be kind enough to offer it here.

JK said...

^Perhaps some of it is cultural homogenity, as you suggest in your post, although it wouldn't explain the plight of the Russian nation*. (Forgive me for making stream-of-consciousness type posts.)

In a homogenous culture, interest groups will be relatively few and far between, allowing for more societal cohesiveness and efficiency. I've mentioned to you before Quigley's thesis regarding societal instruments becoming parasitic institutions. The US free market democracy has a glut of them**, and the reason why the conservatives point outside the country, is because they don't want to further alienate blocks of voters here. (Suggesting as you do here the average Swede might be intrinsicly better suited to succeed than other groups of people wouldn't fly over well) Perhaps if the conservatives as a whole hadn't done such a stellar job at pushing every last minority group, most young (white) people, and the Coastal middle class to the Democratic party by their embracing of religious and overly-xenophopic reactionary firebrands they wouldn't need to walk on the eggshells they are now when making public social commentary. This is something the McCain campaign is apparently seeing in hindsight. Not that it would have made a difference for McCain, who was doomed almost from the start. The Republican party is in between a rock and a hard place, nationally. They want to be able to point fingers and blame someone, but ohhhh, who to blame these days? This is the sort of predicament you get into when you are a party of reaction and not construction. The Dems are successfully spinning this into "The Party of No". No stimulus. No immigrants. No new ideas. Just sit here and say "No".
Blaming minorities for everything wrong with the country (actually a worldwide right-wing M.O.) is just not going to work anymore, whether it's Shaniqua the welfare queen taking all you tax dollars, Pedro coming ashore and taking your pothead step-cousin's job on a chicken farm and getting a ARM mortgage, or Larsy the fag who wants to destroy the sacred time-tested institute of marriage. Nobody wants to hear any of that anymore. I'm suprised it lasted as long as it did, frankly.


*Maybe the climate has something to do with it (shaping the Russian culture). The only other humans on the planet living in those atrocious weather conditions are the Nordic countries and Alaskans, but the Nordic countries are small and close to the sea (rich in the brain food FISH) and the Alaskan population is likewise clustered on the coast. The Russian masses by contrast are in a very cold -in St. Petersberg you will freeze your feet off even with 2 Wool socks and thick boots- harsh environment far away from oceans or farmland. It wouldn't be hard to see how a cultural archetype of a Supreme Leader in the Wilderness takes root.

** Civil right organizations are a perfect example of a societal instrument morphing into a parasitic institution. No wonder Al Sharpton and certain Jewish advocacy groups throw a media circus over every percieved slight (not to minimize the legit ones). It's their JOB! Kind of like, in a sick, exaggerated way, a doctor who poisons the food supply to keep a steady stream of patients. What would Sharpton do with his life if their were no racial strife in the country? My guess is he would not be rich, for one. And Jewish advocacy groups blackmailing pundits and throwing over the top insults at every criticism of Israel are another example. The congressional black caucus has even turned into the biggest supporter of the practice they used to hate, gerrymandering! At any rate, most blacks and Jews for example, do not hold these people in too high esteem, but other established interests like to avoid even contrived, artificial controversy. Bad for business, as they say.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Perhaps some of it is cultural homogenity, as you suggest in your post, although it wouldn't explain the plight of the Russian nation*.

I don't think I specified cultural homogeneity, per se, but, in the case of Russia, it's worth remembering that it is not that homogeneous a country, ethnically or culturally.

"(Suggesting as you do here the average Swede might be intrinsicly better suited to succeed than other groups of people wouldn't fly over well)"All the more reason why it was stupid of O'Reilly, Cavuto, etc. to bring up Sweden as a bogeyman in the first place. If someone on the left brings up Sweden as an example (I think most intelligent liberals are honest enough to note the demographic differences), then it might make sense to make the points I made in the post (which you are welcome to dispute, if you like).

"Perhaps if the conservatives as a whole hadn't done such a stellar job at pushing every last minority group, most young (white) people, and the Coastal middle class to the Democratic party by their embracing of religious and overly-xenophopic reactionary firebrands they wouldn't need to walk on the eggshells they are now when making public social commentary."First, anyone who doesn't want to be ostracized from polite society has to walk on eggshells when discussing differences among ethnic or racial groups. Neither one's previous comments nor one's previous political affiliation will provide one any protection against censure in this area. I think you know this, and can probably think of examples of non-conservatives who got in trouble publicly speculating on group (or gender) differences.

Second, re your depiction of conservatives as racists & xenophobes: do you mean the same conservatives who voted (twice!) for the guy who appointed the most diverse cabinet in history? You remember, the one with the two (count 'em) African American Secretaries of State (the first two in this country's history), the Chinese-American Secretary of Labor, the Cuban American Commerce Secretary, the Mexican-American Attorney General, etc.? The same conservatives who voted for the guy who wanted to give amnesty to illegal aliens, and wanted to extend mortgage credit (and even grants to cover down payments) to more minority borrowers? The facts just don't line up with your attack on the GOP as party done in by its racism/xenophobia.

The reality is that all of the GOP's minority outreach had little effect either way. Most African Americans and Latinos will continue to vote Democratic because it's in their economic interests to do so, as groups that, on average, earn less and pay less in taxes (and thus are eligible for more government transfer payments)*.

The Dems cleaned up at the ballot box in 2006 because most of the country had soured on the Iraq War (which was going extremely poorly at the time) by then, and they cleaned up last year because the financial crisis and the worst postwar recession started on a Republican President's watch.

As for opposition to gay marriage, that's the only (social) conservative plank that did well last year. It has pretty much won everywhere it's been on a ballot, even in blue states such as California and Oregon. That's not an argument for or against it, just an argument against your claim that it's a political liability for the GOP.

*On his Atlantic blog, Ta-Nehisi Coates mentioned a biography of Booker T. Washington he was reading, and argued that the GOP missed a chance to take advantage of his strain of black conservatism/self-reliance. In response, I pointed out that 1) blacks were voting GOP back then anyway; 2) they represented probably too-negligible a voting block to worry about back then (especially because they were still being prevented from voting in parts of the south), and -- most relevant to our correspondence here -- 3) that it was pocketbook issues that first won Dems the black vote, not being more inclusive or less racist than Republicans. It was FDR's social spending that won the black vote -- at a time when all the racists and segregationists in the South were still part of the Democratic Party.

JK said...

then it might make sense to make the points I made in the post (which you are welcome to dispute, if you like). My point wasn't concerned with the "truthiness" of the post, which are extremely nuanced and unfruitful to debate online. But you know as well as I do that you making the point on an anonymous blog is a far cry from a politician making the same argument in the public sphere, and my point is that elected conservatives in the public sphere better have another argument to make on that one, for their own sake. As you said in your response, I wasnt making an argument for or against, just that I consider that line of argumentation a political liability.


I think you know this, and can probably think of examples of non-conservatives who got in trouble publicly speculating on group (or gender) differences.I do know this, and usually, very well they should be, because what you accurately described as speculation is a far cry from empiricism, and consider the history spawned by using such speculation to justify evil activity (Auschwitz, Unit 731, Darfur, slavery, etc etc). True scientists and academics do not mouth off on blogs about such speculation. If it is not related to specific, confirmed data, then we have to say we really don't know. I'm well aware of the nature vs. nurture debate, and in part the reason why the nurture side, the sociologists, are winning in the public sphere is that they can point to a large number of reproducable studies that explain the causes of various differences, or at least appear to. The "nature" side has plenty of studies which SHOW differences. There is very, very few that do anything to explain them on the nature side, i.e., show me a gene combo that helps you do calculus. So far, its just speculation by those who happen to be simultaneously pushing a political agenda. I do expect controversy around this issue to kick up as we understand more about the Human Genome, and how the mind works. For example, the Pelopolynesians are legendary navigators and can navigate in the open seas like it is second nature. By studying the contuours of small waves they can tell how far away land is, a storm is, etc. This takes enourmous cognitive power...yet they perform poorly on Western tests. I think we will find out there is a wide diversity in how people function. But the popular online punditry on this subject, for example, is a small group obssessed with rankings.

I could, for example, speculate that maybe white males are genetically predisposed to child molestation, since child molesters and child pornographers are disproportionately white males. Certainly you would find such speculation morally reprehensible, unless I had more to my arguement than that (specific "pedophile genes", etc).

Oh, BTW...I'm sure you were thinking of Summers in your statement about non-cons in hot water. I don't think Summers should have gotten in hot water for what he said...but he got fired not for what he said, but because he was a disagreeable, dictatorial asshole his whole tenure. Hardly any of the staff liked him, so when they saw an opportunity, the long knives came out and they pulled a publicity stunt.


" your depiction of conservatives as racists & xenophobes: do you mean the same conservatives who voted (twice!) for the guy who appointed the most diverse cabinet in history? " The xenophobic hot button issue wasn't directed at blacks or Mexicans during most of the Bush years, it was -much more justifiably, to give credit- directed at the Muslim world. Bush won the 2000 election as a moderate, NOT a conservative (the "true cons" like Buchanan or Forbes) and in 2004, there not being a Repub primary and all, the only other choice was Kerry, who was a truly abysmal candidate, even for Dems.

The facts just don't line up with your attack on the GOP as party done in by its racism/xenophobia. The facts do line up, because the party didn't collapse until 06, when Tancredo and the KKK-affiliated Minutemen went on a tear against illegals and totally lost the Hispanic vote. Hispanics in parts of the country such as Florida used to lean Republican. The main issue of 06 was illegal immigration as much as it was the Iraq war, at the Republicans choosing.

That's not an argument for or against it, just an argument against your claim that it's a political liability for the GOP. It's a political liability among young coastal whites, who were the enthusiastic backbone of the Obama campaign, for instance. Its a boon to other minorities, who tend ot be socially conservative, but not enough to make them forget everything else.

It was FDR's social spending that won the black vote -- at a time when all the racists and segregationists in the South were still part of the Democratic Party.The black vote didn't start voting 90+ % for Dems until after the civil rights era. A high % were still republicans by then.

DaveinHackensack said...

"my point is that elected conservatives in the public sphere better have another argument to make on that one, for their own sake."Not to beat this to death but:

1) They aren't making the argument that comparisons to Sweden are specious; the pundits quoted in The Daily Show clip made, effectively, the exact opposite argument: that if we follow Swedish-like policies we will end up like Sweden.

2) If prominent liberals did use Sweden as argument for certain policies, I've already mentioned another response -- that not all countries with government sectors as large as Sweden's have as effective governments (e.g., Italy -- similar tax burden, not as much bang for the buck for Italian taxpayers).

3) Despite the taboos on discussions of group differences, I don't think the climate is so chilled in this country that one would be tarred and feathered for pointing out (if need be) the relevance of demographic differences in the manner I did above.

Again, this goes against your depiction of the GOP as a bunch of pitchfork-wielding racists and xenophobes, but Bush's policies on immigration, education, etc. were all predicated on the belief that there are no intractable differences between different groups: that everyone can get good grades, get a good job, and will happily vote Republican if given the same opportunity.

"consider the history spawned by using such speculation to justify evil activity..."That history is one of the reasons the discussion is taboo.

"I'm well aware of the nature vs. nurture debate, and in part the reason why the nurture side, the sociologists, are winning in the public sphere..."What does "winning in the public sphere" have to do with science?

"The xenophobic hot button issue wasn't directed at blacks or Mexicans during most of the Bush years, it was -much more justifiably, to give credit- directed at the Muslim world."Directed by whom? Bush's inclusion and outreach extended to Muslims. He went out of his way, after 9/11 to claim, repeatedly, that radical Muslim terrorists were not representative of the "great/honorable" (I forget which adjective Bush used more) religion of Islam; while the twin towers were still smoldering he invited a Muslim cleric to say a prayer at the National Cathedral; he invited all the Arab ambassadors over for lamb & rice, etc., etc. It's also worth noting that, if memory serves, exactly one person was killed by anti-Muslim violence in this country after 9/11 -- a Sikh, as it happens, falsely assumed to be a Muslim.

"The facts do line up, because the party didn't collapse until 06, when Tancredo and the KKK-affiliated Minutemen went on a tear against illegals and totally lost the Hispanic vote."Since when are the Minutemen affiliated with the KKK? This is the first I've heard of that claim. That aside, your argument rests on a few assumptions that seem dubious: 1) that Latino voters (who, after all, are American citizens) are invariably in favor of illegal immigration/amnesty; 2) that Latinos who are in favor of amnesty would ignore Bush, McCain, Graham, and nearly every other leading Republican who supported illegal immigration/amnesty, and vote against the party because of a backbencher from Colorado; 3) that the Latino vote is large enough and variable enough (i.e., a swing vote) to be decisive.

This is especially rich after the GOP nominated its most pro-amnesty candidate ever last year (with the possible exception of Bush). If amnesty is such a political winner, Democrats ought to make it the central plank in their platform in the next election. Of course they won't though. They'll just offer it as helpful advice to Republicans.

"I could, for example, speculate that maybe white males are genetically predisposed to child molestation, since child molesters and child pornographers are disproportionately white males..."You could certainly speculate, but before you did, I'd be curious to see the evidence that molesters and child pornographers even are disproportionately white.

"The black vote didn't start voting 90+ % for Dems until after the civil rights era. A high % were still republicans by then."I know that, but a majority was voting Dem before Civil Rights -- when all the segregationists and racists were Dems.

JK said...

"Again, this goes against your depiction of the GOP as a bunch of pitchfork-wielding racists and xenophobes"Well first let's clear this up, because I don't portray the GOP as such. I said the party has tolerated racists and xenophobes. As a side note, I'd be curious to see how you, daveinhackensack, personally define the word racist. Anyway whether you want to throw inflammatory adjectives like "pitchfork-wielding" in the mix is up to you, even though in using them you mischaracterize my argument. I think you might be internalizing my criticism of the GOP. But since we went there, I'd say that while most GOP members certainly aren't pitchfork wielding lynchers, any racist pitchfork wielding lynchers that might exist out there would undoubtedly be republican.

"Bush's policies on immigration, education, etc. were all predicated on the belief that there are no intractable differences between different groups: that everyone can get good grades, get a good job, and will happily vote Republican if given the same opportunity."Sure, that's why he was a brand of moderate called a neo-con. But you can't project the whole of Bush's policies into the opinions of the people who elected him, that is highly illogical, especially since there were only two real choices. I doubt anyone agrees with a large majority of a national candidates position these days anyway. Liberals vote for the more liberal guy and conservatives vote for the more conservative guy.

In 04 the hot button issue was gay marriage, and with no discernable difference between the two candidates on Iraq, the electorate decided to trust Bush enough to finish what he started (esp since there was the whole Swift Boat smear going on) and vote "values" instead.

What does "winning in the public sphere" have to do with science? Not much. But I thought your post, and our discussion was one of politics. I thought it was apparent that I was making a side reference, not switching the subject entirely. I guess not. But science marches on no matter what. Everything we know now is probably as wrong as everything we thought we knew in the 19th century.

Directed by whom? Bush's inclusion and outreach extended to Muslims. He went out of his way, after 9/11 to claim, repeatedly, that radical Muslim terrorists were not representative of the "great/honorable" (I forget which adjective Bush used more) religion of Islam; while the twin towers were still smoldering he invited a Muslim cleric to say a prayer at the National Cathedral; he invited all the Arab ambassadors over for lamb & rice, etc., etc. It's also worth noting that, if memory serves, exactly one person was killed by anti-Muslim violence in this country after 9/11 -- a Sikh, as it happens, falsely assumed to be a Muslim. Directed by the RNC, and various grassroots organizations, like the ones spreading the rumors about Obama being a closet Muslim, and a secret tape of Michelle saying "Death to Whitey" (lol). Come on Dave, you know that the presidents themselves try to stay above the fray and be statesmanlike.

Since when are the Minutemen affiliated with the KKK? This is the first I've heard of that claim. That aside, your argument rests on a few assumptions that seem dubious: 1) that Latino voters (who, after all, are American citizens) are invariably in favor of illegal immigration/amnesty; 2) that Latinos who are in favor of amnesty would ignore Bush, McCain, Graham, and nearly every other leading Republican who supported illegal immigration/amnesty, and vote against the party because of a backbencher from Colorado; 3) that the Latino vote is large enough and variable enough (i.e., a swing vote) to be decisive. Hate groups around the country sent people to join the minutemen. Every neo-nazi and Klan website was out in full force asking their members to join.

Your rebuttal points 1) They aren't "invariably" in favor of it, but they tend to be much more immigrant friendly.

2) Yes, they would vote against the amnesty republicans, because of a thing called "branding". You can't run one brand in local elections and another for the national elections. Sure, they will have different people, but conflicting brands creates a trust issue.

3) The Latino vote is a major part of what swung the vote in at least New Mexico and Colorado and possibly Nevada, according to several who have studied it. I don't think you can point to one particular voting group who singlehandedly swung the vote, however.


This is especially rich after the GOP nominated its most pro-amnesty candidate ever last year (with the possible exception of Bush). If amnesty is such a political winner, Democrats ought to make it the central plank in their platform in the next election. Of course they won't though. They'll just offer it as helpful advice to Republicans. The Dems did run on a pro-immigration platform, but to advertise it would fall into a republican trap. Opposing immigration alienates Latinos significantly, but most whites didn't mind if the Dems were pro immigration as long as that wasn't a major plank of the platform.

You could certainly speculate, but before you did, I'd be curious to see the evidence that molesters and child pornographers even are disproportionately white. Come on dave, that's like demanding to see the evidence that most crack dealers aren't black. A simple google search will verify this, if prison documentaries don't, lol.

I don't like for internet debates to turn into link fests but here is the first thing i found. Naturally, as with all criminal profiles, it has the disclaimer that "The sexual abuser could be anyone; he crosses over all socioeconomic, ethnic, age, and professional lines. " But it goes on to say "Most typically, the perpetrator is a white male over 30 years old (the average age is 37)."Also here: Agent Kathleen Canning with the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime describes a profile of child molesters that closely matches many of Elder's own characteristics: a white male over 40 years old who is married, has some college education and is computer-savvy.

Canning said studies show about 100 percent of offenders are male and 96 percent are white. But she added that, contrary to the stereotypical view, 40 percent of offenders have a college degree and many score above-average on cognitive tests. In addition, nearly 40 percent are married and 96 percent are employed, most in business or computer-related fields. Their ages range from young adults to the elderly.

JK said...

^ I meant, "are black". I'm sure there's a few other blatant typos in there as well.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Well first let's clear this up, because I don't portray the GOP as such."Substitute "conservatives" for "GOP" and re-read your post from 2:39pm yesterday.

"I said the party has tolerated racists and xenophobes."If your claim is simply that, among the ~50 million registered Republicans there are some racists -- and that the GOP has tolerated these racists in the sense that it hasn't done a Vulcan mind-meld on all 50 million Republicans and excommunicated those with impure thoughts -- I won't dispute it. It's true. It's also true that there are some racists among the ~50 million registered Democrats, and there has been no Vulcan mind-meld conducted on them by the Dem establishment. If you want to argue that the GOP is tolerating racists and xenophobes in any material sense (e.g., nominating them for public office, detc.), offer specific evidence to support your claim.

"Anyway whether you want to throw inflammatory adjectives like "pitchfork-wielding" in the mix is up to you"I found your post from 2:39pm yesterday to be inflammatory. Perhaps that made me turn up the rhetorical heat a little.

"But since we went there, I'd say that while most GOP members certainly aren't pitchfork wielding lynchers, any racist pitchfork wielding lynchers that might exist out there would undoubtedly be republican."Thanks for allowing that most Republicans aren't pitchfork wielding lynchers. Setting aside, for a moment, the issue of non-white racists, your claim that all racists are Republicans is false even when limited to white racists. Your home state has its share of white racists who are Democrats -- at least that was the claim of many Democratic observers during last year's primary campaign.

Historically speaking, it's true that most of the Southern racists and segregationists who were Democrats for 100 years after the Civil War switched to the GOP after Civil Rights (with some exceptions, e.g., former Klansman Robert Byrd who remained a Democrat). But, although there wasn't anything like Jim Crow in the North, there was racism up here too, particularly among some blue collar whites (who discriminated against blacks in their trade unions, etc.).

"Hate groups around the country sent people to join the minutemen. Every neo-nazi and Klan website was out in full force asking their members to join."Again, the first I've heard of this claim. If this is true, and the Minutemen knowingly accepted any of these individuals, that was pretty stupid of them. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose illegal immigration, but racism isn't one of them. And knowingly associating with the racist fringe is the fast track to marginalization. It's bad enough that non-racist opponents of illegal immigration (a group that seems to include the majority of Americans) are often labeled racists by open borders advocates arguing in bad faith; why give them ammo by not vetting your group properly?

"Directed by the RNC"Evidence??? The Republican nominee went so far as to attack fellow Republicans for even using Obama's middle name in ads. That said, it's not surprising (and I doubt it took any direction from any national organization), for several reasons, that rumors spread that Obama was a Muslim. First, his middle name was "Hussein", which for most connotes "Muslim". Second, both his father and stepfather were Muslims, and he spent some of his formative years in a Muslim country, which might lead some to believe he was raised a Muslim. Third, most Democratic surrogates I heard refuting this claim only used the present tense in refuting it, i.e., they said Obama was not a Muslim, not that he was never a Muslim.

Again, I doubt the rumor that Obama was Muslim was the result of any grand conspiracy, but if one were going to allege a conspiracy about this, one would have to consider the Clinton primary campaign as well as any GOP organization.

"The Dems did run on a pro-immigration platform, but to advertise it would fall into a republican trap."If memory serves, both the Dems and the GOP ran ads in Spanish-language media with different messages on immigration than they did in the mainstream media.

"Come on dave, that's like demanding to see the evidence that most crack dealers aren't black."Up thread you were railing against intellectuals speculating against group differences without carefully marshaling their data, and here you're giving me grief for not accepting your claim without evidence?

"I don't like for internet debates to turn into link fests but here is the first thing i found."OK, good to know. When I have kids, I'll watch out for the white guys in their late 30s.

JK said...

I reread my post from 2:39 and don't see what was so inflammatory about it. Especially since I slung some mud at liberal sacred cows also. I'm sure you've read similar thoughts in a ton of liberal opinions. I don't think stating my opinion that many conservatives have embraced what I consider to be xenophobic racist firebrands is especially inflammatory. But whether what you wrote was inflammatory or not, was not my issue per se, but rather that it falsely portrayed what I said. You may disagree with my assessment of the GOP, but I don't think I've intentionally mischaracterized anything you wrote just as an excuse to set up a gratuitous straw man. If I did, please point it out so I can retract the accidental mischaracterization of your statement.

If you want to argue that the GOP is tolerating racists and xenophobes in any material sense (e.g., nominating them for public office, detc.), offer specific evidence to support your claim. The Republican establishment has used racebaiting many times, even within their own party! When John McCain (not the establishment candidate back then), as a matter of fact, ran in south Carolina, one tactic used to stir up the conservative racist vote against him was to send phone calls out saying that he had an illegit black baby (as if there is something wrong with father a child of color??).
Then of course you have your constant southern republican Freudian slips, the "macaca" moments, Trent Lott moments, etc.

Its true that the Clinton machine did as well, so it is not suprising they turned to conservative media outlets to help them do so (Rupert Murdoch and Hillary cuddled up before the primaries).

Up thread you were railing against intellectuals speculating against group differences without carefully marshaling their data, and here you're giving me grief for not accepting your claim without evidence?I wasn't entirely serious there, but its hard to telepathically distribute such things over the internet. Anyway, there is still a difference, readily apparent data doesnt need a study to support at every mention. But taking another leap to peg someone as, for example, biologically predisposed for certain behavior, is something that shouldn't be done recklessly. Just as it would be distasteful to gloat constantly about my theory that white males are much more natural pedophiles and therefore justifies this that and the third of my radical policy. (extreme example to make a point)

When I have kids, I'll watch out for the white guys in their late 30s.And priests. ha